While many foot problems can be treated non-surgically, not all problems will improve and some will require an operation. There are also many foot and ankle conditions where surgery is the best treatment option as conservative care is often ineffective such as painful Bunions and ingrown toe nails. We have compiled a number of patient information leaflets on common foot and ankle conditions and their treatment including surgery (link to leaflets).
How successful is surgery?
As with all different types of surgery there is not a 100% success rate with all foot and ankle surgery. However the vast majority of patients undergoing foot and ankle surgery by Mr Yates have had a good outcome and been pleased with the results. An independent audit carried out at two years after surgery demonstrated a 93% satisfaction rate. Different surgical procedures often have different levels of outcome and Mr Yates can discuss this with you during your consultation.
Do I have to stay in hospital?
The vast majority of foot and ankle surgery is performed on a day case basis so you would go home on the same day as surgery. Patients can stay overnight especially if they live on their own and cannot organize a friend or relative to stay with them. Occasionally it is better for patients to stay in hospital for medical attention. This maybe because of a pre-existing medical problem or the complexity of the surgery.
What type of anaesthetic would I have?
The three types of anaesthesia we offer are general anaesthetic, sedation with local anaesthesia and local anaesthetic only. The type of procedure being performed will often help determine the best type of anaesthetic for you. As examples a minor procedure such as ingrown toe nail surgery is normally performed under local anaesthetic whereas major foot reconstructive surgery would normally be performed under general anaesthetic. Surgery with sedation is the most common method of foot and ankle surgery we perform. Your choice of anaesthetic will be discussed during your consultation.
When can I return to wearing normal footwear?
This will depend upon the type of surgery you have. For example with most forefoot procedures such as bunion or hammer toe corrections patients will be in the post-op shoe for 2-4 weeks. Swelling of the foot after surgery is common and this can restrict patients in the shoes they can wear when they stop wearing the post-op shoe or cam walker. For most people a return to wide fitting footwear such as trainers, sandals, boots etc can be achieved as soon as they come out of the post-op shoe. Narrower tighter footwear such as high heels will take longer.
When can I drive?
This will depend upon the type of surgery you have and your recovery. Generally as soon as you come out of the post-op shoe or cam walker you can start driving again as long as you feel safe to do so. If you drive an automatic and are having surgery to your left foot you may well be able to drive while you are wearing the post-op shoe.
When can I go back to work?
This will greatly depend upon the type of job you do and the type of surgery performed. With most foot and ankle surgery you will be asked to rest the foot for several weeks after surgery by keeping your foot elevated for most of the time. If you can work from home sitting at a desk you can work probably within the first week after surgery. If you need to drive to work and are office based sitting for work then you should be able to return to work when you can drive. If your job involves prolonged standing for many hours then you may well require a longer period of time off work. We can discuss this issue in more detail during your consultation.
When can I go back to sports or recreational activities?
Again this will depend upon the type of surgery you have, your recovery and the type of activity you want to do. For example for most people after bunion surgery they can return to running or prolonged walking usually within 6-12 weeks.
What can go wrong after surgery?
There are many potential complications that can occur after foot and ankle surgery. The risk of each complication are generally very low which is why most people are very pleased with the outcome of their surgery. However no surgical procedure is 100% successful. The potential complications include; infection, prolonged swelling, joint stiffness, abnormal bone healing, nerve damage, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), recurrence of pain or deformity, and altered walking after surgery causing other foot problems. All of the relevant potential complications will be discussed with you before your operation so you are fully informed and can feel comfortable giving consent to your surgery.